Growing with the world is the key aspect of progress. Are you looking for tips on how to develop your skills?
This blog is the perfect introduction to begin your knowledge of gaining more skills.
John works as a software engineer for a multinational company. John loves his work, but sometimes, he thinks of getting an extra skill, something he is passionate about. John wants to write stories. But, John chucks the idea because he believes he is too old to begin now. Besides, he already has a job that pays. So, John continues to daydream, wondering, "what if I were a writer and my stories were published in a book?"
We all have daydreams. We daydream of playing the guitar, designing beautiful outfits, or being motivational speakers, yet we are not always prepared to work on these dreams. The reason can be anything from lack of resources to lack of motivation.
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What if I told you that these dream skills could be a reality? What if you get a chance to learn or upgrade your skills without spending too much time or money?
This blog gives you a thorough insight into learning new skills quickly to be the best version of yourself today.
I was a middle-school kid when I dreamed of attaining dance skills. But adulthood happened, and once I began my work-life, I could never squeeze in the time to learn these skills. Most times, I just pushed my desire to learn these skills to the back of my head, calling it a "childish dream".
Getting into WFH after 2020, it gave me ample time to realise that all this while the "childish dream" was the passion I never took seriously. I had doubts in my mind. "Aren't I too old to learn?" and "can I even afford that much time and money to learn?". But, I took a step. And one step led to another. Today, I am an advanced learner who has managed to save her passion and the happiness of learning what she wanted.
In my quest to upgrade myself with new skills, I analysed the learning process. What I learned was that you don't need a high IQ, your youth, or luck to learn a new skill. You just need curiosity and the desire to learn along with someone to show you the right techniques.
The benefits of learning something every day can be magnanimous. Let me explain better in the next segment why learning new skills is so important to help you sustain a happy life.
The importance of learning new skills
The only way to move ahead in this rapidly growing world is by upskilling. You should be better than who you were yesterday and be better in the future than you are today. Without this conversion, you will be left in a puddle of dated skills.
Take a simple example:
Back in the 90s, we used telephones to converse. Contacting a person whenever and wherever you wanted was just not possible. Then came the mobile phones with their supreme convenience. Now, connectivity is no longer a problem if you carry your cell phone with you. Humans have evolved from using a simple telephone to adapting to the complex efficiency of smartphones.
The human mind, too, needs a similar evolution. You need to upgrade your skills with time. You need to learn new skills that keep you going with the times. But that's not all. Learning new skills is essential for many reasons.
Let's look into these reasons one by one:
1. The joy of achievement
Learning new skills rewards you with a sense of accomplishment. It gives you the ability to adapt to new situations, which in itself provides confidence. You realise your worth and your capacity. The joy of achieving new skills motivates you and makes you feel important in life.
2. Professional and personal growth
Skills are not necessary just for professional growth but also for personal development. As I learned the various dance forms, I learned how to exercise my body and mind the right way. Along with learning new skills, you know more about yourself. You learn the new extents to which you can pull yourself and make the impossible possible. It builds confidence that you can achieve anything once you set your mind.
3. An extra income
Learning new skills means a new door to financial success. With new skills, new opportunities knock on your door. Even upgrading a tiny bit can help you reap the benefits of new possibilities. It can add an extra income you didn't even consider.
4. Developing new interests
Once you start your skill learning process, you will feel inspired to learn interconnected skills. Learning is a positive habit that cultivates a motivating environment. I began learning how to dance, and now I can't wait to learn its various forms, how I can amalgamate it with my exercise regime to be more fit, and how I can build my dancing skills along with other interconnected skills like flexibility and strength.
5. Brings out the creative side
Knowledge can never be a waste. And the knowledge of multiple skills can advance your mind in various ways. Learning new skills pushes your mind towards creativity. The more you know, the better ideas you can come up with. You learn to see problems from different angles and find creatively intelligent solutions.
6. Gives new goals to focus on
With a new skill, your mind will motivate you to make new goals. It gives you a purpose to live for. When I began my dance training, I had only one goal in my head: to learn how to move my body. Fast forward to two years later, I have new goals set, like I want to be more flexible and develop my kinesthetic abilities further. When you learn a new skill, you begin with a tiny plan which gradually branches out to multiple goals to help you master the art entirely.
7. Makes you attractive
Let me put it straight out here: skilful is the new sexy. Don't you see someone super competent, and you think, "Darn! I wish I could do that too!". Watching a skilful person triggers your desires. And, if you are that skilful person, you will make others wish the same. You will be noticed more in your workspace. Your bosses, clients, and colleagues will treat you as an asset for having skills they don't have.
Learning a skill has an endless scope of progress. You now understand how crucial learning a new skill is to gain satisfaction. But, the question is, how long would it take you to learn those skills? In the next section, let's understand the time you would invest learning or upgrading a skill.
How long does it usually take to learn a new skill?
In 2013, Ryan M. Frischmann wrote "A Skills-Based Approach to Developing a Career". The book speaks at length about how skills and experiences combine to give your life an upgrade. Now, it's not the book that I want to point out but rather the artist who created it.
Frischmann started his career as a staff economist that involved marketing skills in the late 90s. Then, he escalated his career by being a self-employed web developer and consultant. He groomed his graphic designing and programming skills. After that, he became a writer and wrote his book, "A Skills-Based Approach to Developing a Career". Thereafter, he proceeded to be the founder of a company called Skills Based Approach.
What we can learn from this entire journey is that Frischmann didn't stop to think, "oh, I can't learn this skill to get where he wanted to be.", The leading reason behind his success was his sheer curiosity and desire to acquire more skills. And, it didn't happen overnight. Frischmann took his time and progressed gradually.
Your desire to learn is the number one factor in learning. Some people feel passionate about learning and overwork themselves to the extent of exhaustion. Result: They quickly burn out and stop learning after a few weeks. Forcing yourself to learn copious amounts of data in a short time is never helpful.
The adequate amount of time a person can take to learn a skill to a proficient level should be approximately 6 months. The calculation is based on micro-learning methods where you spend 15-20 minutes daily consuming the knowledge.
Why 6 months?
The reason why taking 6 months minimum to learn a skill is the right amount is that:
- Slow learning will help you learn more permanently.
- You can fit the learning time into your schedule easily.
- You will have ample time to practise what you have learned and perform other activities you like.
- During this time, you can expand the scope of learning by gaining new experiences through meeting new people and researching more about the skill.
Struggles you face while learning.
When I began learning how to dance, my most complex challenge was believing in myself daily. There were good days when I could see myself growing. But, at the same time, on the grey days when I felt I wasn't getting better, I would feel frustrated and disappointed.
We all face ups and downs while learning a skill. That doesn't mean you give up. The best way to be prepared for these struggles is to be aware of them so that your mind is ready to battle the doubtful clouds.
This is why I have prepared a list of challenges you will encounter while learning a skill. Remember, the obstacles will keep coming, but you will be rewarded with knowledge and a sense of accomplishment every time you overcome these challenges.
Let's look at what these challenges are and how they work:
1. Failing to learn immediately
Learning begins with failing. If you haven't failed, you won't know how to improve. But, this very failure can make you feel unmotivated.
When I began my dance training, I didn't catch every move at once. Sometimes, it took me weeks to learn a single action, and I still failed to perform it in front of my guide.
Remember, when you fail, that's when you should try not to give up. Failing is nothing but the next step toward learning.
2. Slow at keeping up with the learning pace
Some of us are fast learners, while the rest are slow adapting.
Being a slow learner can be frustrating. Sometimes, you may even face self-doubt. Questions like "am I even good at it?" or "will I ever be good at it, or am I just wasting my time?" can disturb you now and then.
But, hold on because slow learning has its own set of rewards. Let your mind and body decide the pace. Forcing a fast pace will only lead to more frustration and less learning. So, give yourself the time to learn rather than push yourself fast aggressively.
3. Practicing but unable to see results
Practice takes time to show results. Let's consider singing as a skill you want to learn. Do you think your voice can immediately pull those complex notes? No. Musicians and artists allow their bodies to process by practising continuously.
You won't see immediate results even though you have practised constantly. But keep trying. Even though it may seem your hard work is futile, don't believe it. The truth is our bodies are too complex. The changes are tiny but steady; one day, you will realise that the progress you wanted to see in you has finally occurred.
4. Unable to memorise
One of the struggles of learning a skill is not being able to memorise what you have learned. It may be because you are taking too much knowledge at once, which makes it difficult for your brain to comprehend or because you are out of practice.
Moreover, our capacity to memorise can lower with age. This is why brain exercises are essential. Your memory storage can get better with brain exercises. For example, you learn bite-sized content daily and practice it daily. The more you practice, the better your memory storage will be.
5. Not being tech-savvy
Yes, it's a technological world, but technology is forever evolving. This is why it may be challenging to understand the complete efficiency of computers and laptops.
New software, apps, data, and updates keep coming. It may become overwhelming to understand every aspect of a computer, laptop, or any other technological device. You need basic knowledge of the apps and software that you are using. If your work uses the internet, you can research more about how to use the internet productively.
Besides, learning these new technologies can be counted as skills too. So, you can kill two birds with a stone.
6. Lack of self-motivation
One of the biggest struggles in the learning process is the lack of self-motivation. Your mind can be the biggest obstacle if you don't feed it any optimistic thoughts. Lack of self-motivation arises from self-doubt. When you don't believe in yourself, you don't feel like working or learning to be the better version.
Hence, create a positive atmosphere in your mind. Instead of saying "oh no, I can't" to life, say "I can". Anyone can learn a skill. There are no age restrictions, educational backgrounds, and haste to learn. You can continue with your life but with just a few minutes devoted to learning.
You understand now where you can face struggles in your learning process. So, how do you enhance your learning habits when you are facing these struggles?
I have answered the question above with 8 wonderful tips to help you improve your skill-learning habits.
8 tips that will improve your skill learning habits
The art of learning a skill is related to how you are learning that skill.
Most of us like to learn fast and see the results more quickly. When it comes to learning a skill, most of us approach it with an easy come, easy go attitude. If we can understand it aggressively fast in a few weeks, brilliant. Or, we lose interest and quit.
By putting such unrealistic expectations on the learning process, you stop yourself from exploring the true potential of learning. The key is to define the process not by how much you could learn but by how well you could learn.
Unlearn the notion that quick learning is efficient learning. The truth is fast learning is forced learning. You may remember what you learned for a few months, but in the long run, you will forget these acquired skills and remain just as decorative elements in your resume.
We have assembled a list of tips to help you improve your learning habits. Reading these tips will help you understand the right way to consume more knowledge permanently. Let's check out these tips:
1. The 1% learning theory at a time
There is a specific learning theory, and it's pretty interesting. For 5 days a week, you learn just 1% at a time. There's no rush, no fuss. You learn 1% of the skill you are interested in and practice it continuously. Day after day, as your 1% knowledge begins accumulating, there will come the point when you reach 100%. That will be 100% of the skills you learned and practised daily.
Without realising, you will wake up one day to discover that you have mastered the skill. You didn't hurry the process. You simply learned patiently and gained the knowledge without forcing your brain to memorise everything at once.
Bit by bit, your brain started making space for more knowledge, and your head didn't feel like it would explode. Instead, learning would feel as easy as breathing. That's the power of dynamic learning.
2. Take breaks between your learning
All learning and no play make Jack (and anyone else) a dull person. The purpose behind taking breaks between learning is to let your brain process the information. This will help you remember more and prepare you for your next learning session. Consider this a treat you give your brain after all the learning. And, your brain will respond generously to this reward.
3. Don't cram. Let it flow
Cramming may have worked for you for an exam when you had to keep the knowledge stored in your memory just for a day or a few hours. But, long-term knowledge needs time. While cramming was an excellent last resort for me in school, I know it doesn't work for me if I have to learn something permanently.
Your brain creates long-term memories when the learning is gradual and consistent. This is similar to how your body needs constant exercise to build muscle strength.
3. Set a schedule for learning
Schedule your learning journey and set a deadline before starting. Building up an organised schedule will help you construct a consistent rhythm. Once you adapt to this rhythm, you can maximise your time accordingly. It will also allow you to outline what you want to learn per day.
4. Become a dynamic learner
Dynamic learning means learning whenever and wherever you want. It means learning through short videos and podcasts and reading books when you have leisure time.
We all have hectic schedules, and not at all times can we arrange a desk to study and learn. Moreover, studies have shown that varying locations can improve your learning capacity. Additionally, learning at different times of the day can help you focus better on the skill you are learning.
5. Ask for feedback and comments from trusted experts
Feedbacks are a great way to know about your performance. An expert can measure how much you have learned and how well you have learned. On KoolStories, you will find carefully chosen experts and creators who can provide valuable feedback to you. Once you gain valid and valuable feedback, you can adjust the learning process and get you back on track.
6. Find learning buddies
Post 2020 changes, several studies concluded that isolated learning leads to a dull and unmotivated learning experience.
A study by experts at Washington University in St. Louis revealed that collaborative learning helps students learn the material better. It increases the appetite to gain knowledge and builds a positive and motivating environment.
7. Use the right tools
Use easy and intuitive tools that will help you learn. Learning tools can be anything that can help you grow your knowledge of a skill. It can be a video, audio, a one-to-one session, a debate, or conversations with like-minded people.
You can learn anything you want and find inspiration in various ways to learn.
8. Use self-testing methods
They say you are your worst critic. And, you can use this for your benefit. When I was a beginner while learning dance skills, I would practice, evaluate my performance, and scrutinise where I needed to improve.
Self-testing is a proven technique to build your confidence. Begin by remembering what you learned and explaining it to a friend. You can present it to your friend if it's a skill that requires a practical display, like playing an instrument. Let your friend give honest feedback (especially about where you are lacking).
Take notes actively of the feedback and work accordingly to analyse how well you are learning. You will see a vast improvement in the end.
At KoolStories, you can find work on all these tips. You can learn through its micro-learning courses, make new like-minded friends, interact with creators and experts, upgrade your skills through social learning, and enhance your overall social experience by using your time productively. Take a tiny step towards micro-learning for a better version of yourself.
Now that you understand how you can improve or learn various skills, the ultimate question is:
What comes next?
You can join KoolStories and start your learning journey today. There's so much that KoolStories has to offer. You can simply sign up today and explore the world of micro learning. And, when you do, the learning will follow you.